Sunday, August 11, 2013

Arrowmont: Three Incredible Weeks

This will be one of three posts about my three week experience at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee. This was generously supported by Fund For Teachers (an organization that allows teachers to create their own PD by designing a personalized program that can include international travel as long as your research relates back to your curriculum).

When I started my research for this I knew I wanted a hands on art making experience related to fiber arts. After three months of research I decided on Arrowmont and to use my research to create the first ever, online, contemporary fiber arts curriculum. This would include using an iPad to interview relevant contemporary fiber artists to create video segments for teachers to use with curriculum materials to help engage and stimulate young artists.

Part I: Peg Gignoux, Mapping Memories Class (one week)
First a little about the campus, this was my housing building
Arrowmont is set in the great smoky mountains just outside of Gatlinburg
My well air conditioned "dorm" room
The public screened in porch
Campus road, all studio buildings are along this hilled road

This is where the fiber studio is housed
There are several studios in this building, as well as the gallery and library
Class meets for the first time for two hours on Sunday evening.
This was a great first class. Peg gave us scraps from her pieces and as we got to know each other, we were given thread and fabric scraps to work with. We all dove right in.
Later we discussed them, then switched to finish up a new piece.
These were the finished pieces. Mine is top left.
The next day peg shared a wealth of antique lace and fibers from her personal collection.
It was a real treat to examine these pieces and think about the women who made them and their legacy that remains in the fibers of each special piece.
The fiber studio is amazing, it has everything you would need to work in any fiber genre. 
This is a view from the catwalk.

Here is the dinning hall where three square meals a day are provided for you
so you can focus just on making art.
Meals are always fun because you get a chance to talk
with a variety of artists from all over the country.
The campus is just lovely with beauty everywhere you look.
This was my daily view, the studio building, as I turned the corner for breakfast.
Peg covered a wide variety of techniques in her class, including how to sew, cut, and sew again.
Here she is discussing thermafax screen printing and stamping.
Here are some samples of my prints.
We also learned about dyeing, this was my first true dyeing experience.
It was a lot of fun, we dyed repurposed fabrics, lace, doilies, organza, silks,
and anything we could find.

Peg shared her personal work and the inspiring stories behind them.
She has a castle in France and teaches classes there in the summer.
This is the barn that is now living quarters for students.
Some lovely dyed silk organza
The view from the studio porch
Sewing of some lace onto fabric. One of the first projects was creating
with a neutral pallet of whites and tans.

Did you know that this part of the Smoky Mountains is an actual rain forest?
The dining hall.
Last day critique of work produced.
I was happy with all I learned and knew that I had started my next big project.
What a great group of people to learn with too!

There was a free Saturday between classes so I was able to explore the majestic beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Cades Cove was a perfect day trip.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


This is a piece I made for my amazing sister for her birthday.
I painted the image on some muslin, then layered, and freemotion stitched it
I used a technique I learned from Susan Shie to create the edges
You wrap the fabric around the batting, then place the painted piece over it
I spent a few weeks hand stitching details while watching TV
Hand stitching has became the new obsession I am presently exploring.
Through an Illinois Art Education Association scholarship I am currently taking an embroidery class
at the Lillstreet Art Center. I am excited about the new possibilites my art will take.
My sister loved the piece

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Gratitude, Word of the year 2013

I choose GRATITUDE for my 2013 Word of The Year
The piece began with a picture of my hands
 My hands are open, as if accepting
 I printed the image, then traced it onto freezer paper to get the image started on muslin
 I added value one shade at a time
 Then I added rays of light
The back is almost as interesting as the front
 Hand stitched beads
 Each night my husband and I write what we are thankful for each day
then add it to a monthly Gratitude Jar, this is January's
 This is February's, at the end of the month they are dumped into a really big jar
 We've both enjoy writing our gratitudes each night
Next year we will read one, and write a new one

Final piece

I truly enjoyed the meditative process of thread painting this piece
but, I would do two things differently next time.
1. Paint the muslin first, this would cut done on white spaces, and save thread
2. The piece became very wonky as I stitched. I sought the advice of an expert, Susan Brubaker Knapp, here is what she said: “When I thread sketch, I only do it through the top layer of fabric and interfacing (Pellon 910 or Heavy Weight Shaping Aid), sometimes two layers of interfacing. It looks like you have done it with batting and backing fabric, which do not give you enough of a solid foundation for all that thread. Also, make sure you use very light weight thread (50 or 60 weight).”